3 Rules for Dealing with Difficult Coworkers


Unless you’re exceedingly lucky, there’s a very good chance you will find yourself working with at least one difficult coworker in your career. ‘Difficult coworkers’ are typically someone who has values, work habits or attitudes that differ from yours. These individuals can add significantly to your stress levels – particularly if you have to work closely with them.

There are many specific strategies you can use when dealing with specific situations, but here are three basic overall rules to remember:

1. Never talk about your difficult coworker with other people at work.

No matter how frustrated you get, there is never an upside to sharing negative feelings about a coworker. If you have to vent, vent to your dog, you cat or your plants – not to another person.

  1. Take the high road.

    If a coworker’s actions are not in line with your personal values, work habits or attitude, don’t let his (her) behavior drag yours down. Maintain your integrity, and keep your personal performance at a high level.

  2. Assume the best, (but prepare for the worst).

    Despite how it may sometimes seem, few people really go out of their way to be poor coworkers. Give him the benefit of the doubt, and work on the assumption that his intentions are good. Make sure you have all your bases covered, however, just in case things don’t work out.

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